Skip to main content

Full text of "08BAGHDAD586"

See other formats



DE RUEHGB #0586/01 0591442 


R 281442Z FEB 08 







E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2013 



I.B. 07 BAGHDAD 4008 

Classified By: Kirkuk PRT Leader Howard Keegan for Reasons 1.4 (b,d) 

J.1 . (U) This is a Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) 
message . 

^2. (C) Summary and Comment: Kirkuk Provincial Council 

members Ali Al-Salhi and Awad M. Ameen (Kirkuk Brotherhood 
League-KBL) told us February 14 that the KBL had accepted the 
Turkman bloc ' s request to resume negotiations and called for 
a stronger PRT role in local political development. The KBL 
is prepared to grant most, if not all, of the Turkman bloc's 
requests as the KBL currently understands them. Regarding 
the Provincial Powers Law (PPL), Awad explained that the 
relative inaction of the Provincial Council (PC) to date was 
due to the lack of a firm legal basis on which to operate, 
claiming that the Transitional Administrative Law had 
repealed CPA 71 and all previous provincial powers 
authorities without establishing new ones. He said the PPL 
would provide a framework for establishing local council and 
administrator roles and responsibilities. Regarding the 
appeal for more robust PRT engagement, PRT believes the KBL 
is seeking efforts analogous to the PRT's 2007 role in 
brokering the KBL-Arab bloc agreement. That role included 
pressure on Kurdistan Regional Government-based parties to 
allow the KBL lattitude in negotiating an agreement. End 
Summary and Comment . 

J.3 . (C) Ali and Awad said the PC public relations committee 

and the PC Chair are reconvening negotiations with the 
Turkman bloc, with the first session scheduled for February 
^24. Ali had just met with representatives of the Kurdistan 
Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) 
to clear the KBL's negotiating stance and strategy. Awad 
was still meeting with them at the beginning of the 
conversation held in Ali's office. Ali felt that the Turkman 
bloc ' s request to resume negotiations was a positive sign and 
the Turkmen would return to the council after the 
negotiation. Neither he nor Awad admitted having any 
detailed knowledge of President Talibani ' s recent meeting 
(Ref A) with the Turkman bloc, particularly his endorsement 
of the Turkman demands . 

1L4 . (C) Ali mentioned that options on the negotiating table 

included a rotation plan for the post of Governor, the 
appointment of a Turkman Deputy Governor, and recognition of 
Turkmani as an official provincial language. On the last 
point, Ali admitted he was unsure if the PC negotiating team 
could go so far as to allow usage of Turkmani on the 
multi-lingual sign at the Kirkuk Government Building (KGB) . 

Ali commented that Turkmani was in any event already a de 
facto official language, since it was being taught in "I 
don't know how many schools." With regard to the KGB sign, 

Ali thought usage of the most common four languages was 
sufficient. He also estimated it would be easy to accede to 
the Turkman bloc ' s demand that harassment of the Turkman 

Education DG cease, since Ali did not think any harrassment 
was taking place. 

^5. (C) Awad said the provincial council currently does not 

have the authority to legislate, only to review projects and 
to approve them or return them to the Provincial Contracting 
Center (PCC) or to act on other matters requested by other 
competent authorities. Both Awad and Ali emphasized that, in 
their opinions, the Transitional Administrative Law had 
superseded CPA 71 and that no legal basis for independent 
Council action existed. Based on this lack of authority, the 
only tool the Council could employ to influence the allegedly 
"inefficient" and "poor" administration of the province was 
to cajole the Governor to either assert himself or to get him 
to voluntarily resign. In a previous meeting. Governor Abdul 
Rakhman told IPAO that he felt he had little legal basis for 
independent action either, indicating that the lack of clear 
legal authorities was the primary obstacle to improving local 
governance capacity. 

1L6 . (SBU) At the end of the meeting, both Ali and Awad called 
for the PRT to be "more assertive" in its efforts at 
political and economic reconstruction, stating that only with 
such support would the situation change. This appeal was 
presented in terms of the PRT being an offset to other 
outside actors, including the the PUK and KDP. 

1[7 . (C) Comment: PRT played a significant, back-channel, role 

in brokering the December 2007 agreement that brought the 
Arab bloc back into the Kirkuk PC (Ref B) . That role 
included pressuring the KRG-based parties to allow more 
independence to the KBL so that it could more flexibly 
negotiate with the Arab bloc. Being able to negotiate 
independently allowed the KBL the political space for the 

BAGHDAD 00000586 002 OF 002 

give and take necessary to reach agreement with the Arab 
bloc. The KBL call for a more assertive PRT presence in 
negotiating with the Turkman bloc likely echoes the 2007 
experiences. PRT assesses that both Awad and Ali feel that 
the PRT ' s role in counter-balancing the influence of Kurdish 
parties was key to reaching agreement with the Arab bloc and 
that they are now calling for similar stepped-up PRT 
involvement. PRT had already planned to engage the PUK and 
KDP to set the stage for these negotiations and those 
engagements are now underway. 

1[8 . (C) Comment Cont'd: President Talibani's endorsement may 

have strengthened the Turkman bloc ' s perception of their own 
negotiating strength and the resumption of negotiations is 
likely little more than another opportunity to present their 
demands with no negotiation. The issue of the KGB sign, for 
example, probably involves a demand from a specific Turkman 
leader, Ali Mahdi, known for his tendency to derail past 
negotiations before they even begin. PRT will not endorse 
any negotiating options or agreements that violate the 
KBL-Arab bloc 13 point agreement. Attempting to negotiate 
such a violation is a probable Turkman bloc objective, with a 
view to convincing the Arab bloc to resume the boycott. End 
Comment . 

1[9 . (SBU) Biographical note: Both individuals are Kurdish 

and KBL members of the Provincial Council. Awad is a former 
communist and speaks in terms of "scientific bases" for 
analyzing social and cultural situations. Al-Salhi is a 
local businessman, holds U.S. citizenship and has strong ties 
in both Iraq and the United States. Both speak English. 

Both spoke Arabic and Kurdish during telephone calls taken 
during the meeting. End note.